–by Bronto Incognito
If you know me you know that October is like a month of Christmas. A month of creepy, black-and-orange, skeleton riddled Christmas. Not surprisingly I love me some good scares, which seem harder to find in Young Adult than in the adult genre. But my theory (both for scary movies and books) if you need all that gore to make me want to hide under my bed, you really don’t know how to creep a person out.
So, without further adieu, here are my top 5 picks for some nice scary reads. They span the ages from Middle Grade to New Adult, so I hop you’ll find something you like!!!
5. Night of the Living Dummy by R.L. Stine
No doubt about it, R.L. Stine is pretty much the Stephen King of Middle Grade. He was the a very creepy part of my childhood and, yes to brag, I once as an adult got to hear him read a ghost story, in a graveyard, on the night before Halloween. Yup. Be jealous.
I read a TON of Goosebumps through elementary and middle school (as did both my siblings) but this one always stood out to me. There’s admittedly something ultra-creeptastic about inanimate objects coming to life, but ventriloquist dummies take the cake. Plus these guys can do stuff like spew gallons of slimy green garbage water all over your family and friends at the schools talent show. And, the best part about this book? It’s not the last one! Oh no, Slappy comes back in Night of the Living Dummy II and III. So, you know, be careful what you pick up at the local thrift store…
4. The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
This one is scary in a very non-supernatural way. Follow the link if you want to read my review of it. The story follows a group of kids set up by the FBI to work cold cases because of their various natural abilities. But for one of the kids their own personal cold case is coming back to haunt them as a serial killer starts targeting her.
The thing that makes this book so creepy is that you get snippets from the killer’s perspective. But they’re all told in 2nd person, so instead of “I take the knife…” or “The killer takes the knife…” it’s like, “You take the knife and run it along the girl’s throat.”
Seriously, if serial killer stuff gets you squeamish, this is not the book for you…
3. Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender
Family moves into new house, and little sister begins a new obsession with…dolls. Like, creepy-level obsession with porcelain and vintage dolls. And this girl’s 12. And also, it’s entirely possible that the main doll in her collection might be possessing her and making her act all weird and creepy.
I take back what I said before. It’s not just the ventriloquist dummies. All dolls have the potential to wig me out…
2. Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Here’s another one on the non-supernatural side from my absolute favorite author. The teens in Unwind live in a world where the 2nd Civil War, which was about the right to choose, was resolved like this: You cannot touch life from conception until the age 13. From 13 to 18 your parents (or the state if you’re in their care) can sign paperwork to have you “unwound”. 99.9% of your body is then transplanted into other recipients. And people approved this because see, you’re not really dying…you’re living in a “divided state”.
Not weird or creepy at all, right? The story follows 3 kids, one getting unwound by his parents, one by the state, and one….sigh…Lev. Oh, Lev. His super-religious parents conceived him, their 10th child, as a TITHE. Meaning from the minute he was born he was destined to be unwound the day he turned 13.
If all that doesn’t creep you out enough, check out this fan-made video of what the unwinding process would look like. Again, don’t watch if you’re squeamish…
And last but not least we have….
1. Bird Box by Josh Malerman
This book follows Malorie in 2 different time periods–the present and 4 years ago. Four years ago sometime happened. No one knew exactly what or how, but whatever…virus or creature or whatever appeared on our planet, those who witness it go immediately insane. They commit suicide. Unless there’s someone else around. Then they’ll commit murder…then suicide.
Malorie and a group of strangers seek shelter together in a single house. But cut ahead four years and Malorie is alone in the house with her two children, Boy and Girl. Blood stains line the walls and carpets–something terrible happened in the past, but what? Malorie’s children have never seen the world outside their four walls-to do so would mean certain death. But the time is coming when the family needs to leave. Can they find safety among more strangers, or will their blindfolds slip just a milometer, causing them to commit suicide?
There is 1 scene in this book towards the end that’s…a little…I don’t want to say graphic necessarily, but this ONE thing that happens is more gruesome than would happen in a YA. Which is why I’m counting this one as New Adult.
So what do you think of my list? Do you love scary stories, too? Or do you avoid them at all costs? Let us know in the comments below!!!